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  1. #1
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    Jul 2012

    Bob Goodlatte: Senate immigration bill ‘falls far short’


    Bob Goodlatte: Senate immigration bill ‘falls far short’

    By SEUNG MIN KIM | 5/22/13 3:21 PM EDT
    House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte rattled off several criticisms of the Senate Gang of Eight bill on Wednesday, saying the legislation will ultimately not stem the flow of illegal immigration into the United States.

    Those remarks from Goodlatte — who will be a central Hill figure in immigration reform — were his most critical yet on the landmark Senate legislation, which passed the Judiciary Committee Tuesday night on a bipartisan 13-5 vote.

    “The drafters seek an end to the problem of illegal immigration for once and for all,” Goodlatte said Tuesday during a committee hearing on the Senate bill. “While this is a laudable and necessary goal, their bill falls far short of achieving it.”

    Reflecting the concern of many House and Senate conservatives, Goodlatte said he was not convinced the Gang bill would sufficiently secure the border. The Senate legislation requires a series of security benchmarks before undocumented immigrants can transition into a provisional status and, a decade later, obtain a green card.

    But for a swath of Republicans, that’s not a strong enough trigger. In the House — where a separate group of eight lawmakers are trying to hammer out an agreement on immigration — negotiators have settled on a trigger that would halt the legalization process if E-Verify is not up and running in five years.
    Multiple times, Goodlatte likened the Senate bill to the 1986 immigration law, saying lawmakers are now “haunted by the legacy” of the failure of the Immigration Reform and Control Act, signed by then-President Ronald Reagan.

    Goodlatte’s Democratic counterpart, Rep. John Conyers, was more welcoming of the Senate legislation. The Michigan lawmaker argued against Republican claims that the Senate bill provided so-called “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants — citing fines and other requirements that the immigrants must fulfill to stay on the 13-year track to citizenship.

    “I think these critics of the 1986 law would be hard-pressed to say that the Senate bill provides amnesty,” he said.

  2. #2
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    Jul 2012
    Washington Post
    Key House chairman slams Senate immigration bill as House immigration group struggles

    By Associated Press, Published: May 21 | Updated: Wednesday, May 22, 1:51 PM

    WASHINGTON — A key House committee chairman on Wednesday sharply criticized a wide-ranging immigration bill just passed by a Senate committee, underscoring the difficulties ahead as the politically volatile measure moves forward in a divided Congress.

    Separately, a bipartisan House group that has been working behind the scenes to craft its own immigration measure encountered fresh difficulties.

    House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., argued that the bill passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a bipartisan vote Tuesday “falls far short” of what is needed to end the problem of illegal immigration, and is unlikely to secure the border.

    “While I commend the Senate for their continuing efforts to tackle the extremely difficult task of reforming our broken system, I must observe that S. 744 repeats many of the mistakes of the past,” Goodlatte said at a hearing of his committee on the legislation. “We have serious concerns.”

    Goodlatte’s critique was echoed by other Republicans on his committee. “I cannot find any deadline by which the border needs to be secure” under the legislation, complained Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas.

    Their comments came the day after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13 to 5 to advance the measure to the full Senate, with three Republicans joining the Democratic majority. The bill would aim to enact new border controls and enforcement mechanisms in the workplace, allow tens of thousands of workers into the country legally for high- and low-skilled jobs, and create a 13-year path to citizenship for the 11 million people already here illegally.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., pledged Wednesday to bring the measure to the Senate floor in June after Congress returns from its Memorial Day recess. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he would support a vote to begin debate on the measure, although he said he remained undecided about supporting it.

    “I’m undecided about the bill, but I’m not undecided about the problem,” McConnell said on Fox News Channel. “The border is unsecure and we need to fix it. So I’ve not decided yet whether this is the bill to do that, but we’ve got a serious problem along the border.”

    Meanwhile there were new setbacks for a bipartisan House group that has been working to finalize its own measure along the lines of the Senate bill.

    The group of eight lawmakers, four Democrats and four Republicans, has been promising for months to release the legislation but has encountered numerous difficulties as it tries to get a deal that could get through the Republican-controlled House while also satisfying Democratic concerns. Late last week, after reports that talks had stalled, lawmakers insisted they had an “agreement in principle.” But on Wednesday lawmakers and aides said the group had new problems arising from a dispute over how to handle health care for immigrants here illegally.

    Republicans in the group are trying to establish a system to ensure that no taxpayer money goes to pay for health care for people here illegally. Democrats in the group thought they had come up with a mechanism that could satisfy that concern at least well enough to act as a placeholder so the group could release the legislation, two House aides said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the private deliberations. One aide described the solution as a fund to be paid for by fees in the bill to reimburse states and local governments any costs of health care for those in the country illegally.

    But, according to the aides, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and other Democratic leaders objected over concerns that the legislation moved too far to the right and into areas outside of the purview of the immigration group. That caused Democratic members of the group to back off the deal.

    “They had agreed to that until Democrat leadership objected,” Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, a member of the group, told reporters.

    “What may be the story at the end of this session is that Obamacare killed immigration reform,” Labrador said.
    A House Democratic leadership aide, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations, said House Democratic leaders were not trying to interfere with the House immigration group, or slow it down, but simply trying to clarify the language.
    Associated Press writer Luis Alonso Lugo contributed to this report.

  3. #3
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    Senate Bill Won't End Illegal Immigration, Goodlatte Says

    By Roxana Tiron - May 22, 2013 12:39 PM PT

    The Senate’s comprehensive immigration bill won’t accomplish the goal of ending “illegal immigration for once and for all,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte.

    “The Senate bill is unlikely to secure the border,” Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, said at a hearing he convened today in Washington to examine the legislation approved yesterday by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    Goodlatte said the measure, which the full Senate will consider in June, requires the Department of Homeland Security “to simply submit a border security plan to initiate the legalization of 11 million unlawful immigrants.”

    “Without securing the border, and with a simple submission of a plan, unlawful immigrants become eligible for registered provisional immigrant status,” Goodlatte said. “The strategy does not have to be complete or be even more than a fantasy.”

    Goodlatte, whose committee has jurisdiction over immigration legislation in the House, has begun introducing a series of measures with the goal of changing the system through a piecemeal approach, instead of one comprehensive plan.
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